Updated: Jul 12, 2022
If you are attracted by the idea of an exotic country, but you don't want to travel too far - Marrakech is the ideal choice. By plane from Prague, in just 4 hours you will find yourself in a city whose way of life is reminiscent of ancient times.
The journey from the airport to the accommodation itself will leave you with an abundance of impressions. Traffic in Marrakesh can be summed up in two words: absolute chaos. Drivers in dusty cars are constantly honking at each other, several times you will see a scooter driven by a veiled Muslim woman carrying two or even three children, and sometimes you will be stopped along the way by a local merchant carrying cargo on a cart pulled by a donkey. Cars cannot get to the city center, so you have to walk part of the way to the accommodation. You will soon discover that almost the entire center is an open-air market. At every turn you will come across merchants and stallholders, beggars and vagabonds. Just a glance into the eyes of one of the local stallholders and they will immediately try to draw you into their stall and vehemently sell you their wares. Likewise, a quick look at a paper map is enough and in no time at least one local will appear around you, who will try to help you find the right way. If you don't ask about the route yourself, getting advice is not highly recommended. Give a warm thank you, but make it clear that you know where you're going. You will manage to get lost in the historic medina several times, so study the route properly in advance.
However, when you get rid of the initial fear of the unknown, you will slowly start to enjoy the aimless wandering through the narrow streets. You will begin to perceive Marrakech with all your senses. You will find that at every step you will smell a completely different scent from the previous one. Whether you smell a non-specific oriental scent, musk, rosemary, mint or lots of herbs, you may soon be unpleasantly surprised by the smell of garbage, rotten fruits and vegetables or even the smell of live chickens sold in miniature cages. Most likely, however, of all the possible smells, you will mainly smell the scent of fragrant ambergris, mainly from the aroma lamps, which are widely used here. Sometimes you will want to stop and buy spices, dried fruits, nuts, beads, cosmetics, leather goods or other goods so typical of Morocco. But the stalls are so small and the streets in front of the stall so narrow that it will be very difficult for you to avoid passing Moroccans on scooters. Women, men and even teenagers drive scooters here as if they don't know the fear of hurting someone with their driving style. You drive here literally millimeter by millimeter. Every now and then you hear someone honking at you from behind. It is not worth thinking for a long time where the sounds are coming from. Simply give way to passing motorbikes, even though you might think they drive like crazy in the miniature streets. There's no point walking down the aisles alongside your entourage. You'll be dodging passing motorbikes and walking crowds every other step. You will get used to the fact that it is better to walk in a line behind one another, and that wandering through the historic medina is not exactly a romantic walk for two. Expression of love is not very accepted here, so holding hands exposes you to loud shouts from locals who either call you 'Lovers' in English or simply literally stare at you. Whether you are hungry or not, you will be herded to their restaurant everywhere. If you politely answer them that you have just finished eating, they will start urging you to at least get a coffee. When you tell them you don't feel like coffee, they start encouraging you to visit the restaurant later. The people of Marrakesh are simply persistent and mainly those who are concentrated in the most famous square 'Jamaa el-Fna'. It is in this square that you will experience several unyielding characters. Whether it's a little girl who runs up to you, hugs you, starts talking to you in Arabic and doesn't want to let you go even when you're walking, or a young boy who happens to be around and asks you to buy water while you're snacking at a food stand fresh orange juice. Here on the square you will experience the real Marrakesh atmosphere.
Don't let the warm demeanor fool you. Nothing is free in Marrakech, definitely don't expect a peaceful holiday here. However, you will be rewarded with extremely tasty oriental food and the much-loved fresh mint tea, which you can enjoy in peace on the terrace of one of the restaurants right on Jamaa el-Fna Square. So if you are not the very adventurous type, don't skimp on accommodation and book one of the local riads. These are luxurious smaller hotels in the city center with a capacity of only a few rooms. Riads are usually built in such a way that they have an open roof, so you are literally staying in the open air. It is very pleasant to cool down in the small pool located in the middle of the atrium. So you can laze around in an authentic environment decorated with oriental colored tiles without hearing the noise of children running around behind the walls of your hotel.
Staying in a Marrakech riad could be compared to an oasis of peace, mainly because you cannot see the riad from the street, the windows are not built from the outside. All the windows face the atrium, which makes the accommodation more pleasant than anywhere else in the city. If you choose quality accommodation and don't feel like walking through overcrowded and noisy streets, you can enjoy the sun with a glass of fresh orange juice right in the hotel. Even so, you will feel like you are in another world, surrounded by oriental architecture, undisturbed peace and hospitable managers of the riad, who would bear even the bluest of the sky for you. But does it make sense to relax without enjoying the real local atmosphere and sightseeing? Try to plan your stay in Marrakech in such a way that you can manage both in time. The life here, so different from ours, will definitely leave many unforgettable impressions in you. And only in a short 4 hour flight.
I hope you will enjoy my photo-gallery below.